Man fires gun near bar to scare away the ‘corpses’
WATSON -- A Watson man who fired a gun near an area bar and told authorities he was "just protecting his country" made his first appearance Monday in Chippewa County District Court.Joseph Mark Rongstad, 33, is facing a felony charge of reckless d...
WATSON - A Watson man who fired a gun near an area bar and told authorities he was “just protecting his country” made his first appearance Monday in Chippewa County District Court.
Joseph Mark Rongstad, 33, is facing a felony charge of reckless discharge of a firearm, a disorderly conduct misdemeanor charge, and a petty misdemeanor citation for discharge of a firearm.
According to a criminal complaint on the charges, Chippewa County sheriff’s deputies and Montevideo police officers first responded just after 11 p.m. Feb. 20 to a lot near Watson’s Goose Bar after receiving a 911 report of an individual shooting a gun.
Witnesses later told police they saw a truck driving in the ditch before parking in the lot, and then heard “muffled booms” coming from the vehicle.
Two Montevideo police officers found a pickup truck running with its headlights on and saw a man duck down in the front seat of the vehicle.
Officials approached the truck, yelling at the man to put his hands up.
Upon further observation of the vehicle, they saw a rifle lying on the center console next to the man in the driver’s seat.
The complaint says the gun was loaded, and there was a spent case in the center console cup holder.
After Rongstad was arrested, a Chippewa County deputy asked him what was going on. He stated he was “just protecting his country.”
In a recorded interview with authorities, Rongstad said he had taken the rifle from his mother’s residence and the pickup truck from his brother.
He had allegedly driven around for hours and then parked on his property near the bar while possessing the loaded rifle.
According to the complaint, Rongstad said he was “trying to get away from the corpses that were after him,” so he had fired the rifle through the truck’s moon roof “to warn the corpses that if they come after him that he had a weapon.”
Rongstad is not in custody. His next court date is an April 25 settlement conference.